A few days ago, I woke up at 4AM with what I think was my epiphany. It just hit me of how busy I seemed to be all the time. With personal stuff that I HAVE to get done. With book related stuff, but not much of it writing. Not much of it studying writing. Somewhere along the lines, things changed. Things went haywire. I think back to when I first decided to write. Yes, I was busy then too and that's why I didn't really write anything significant, even though I always wanted to write a book. Then, I just said that I'm going to make writing a book my first priority and I did. And I wrote a book and published it all in one year's time. But I had a FULL-TIME job then, as an engineer. I was on the road a good 85% of the time. I worked no less than 9 - 10 hours a day, sometimes as much as 16, and has stress headaches and body aches 50% of the time. Yet, through it all, I wrote. I got up at 4AM and wrote. I wrote on the weekends. I wrote, I wrote, I wrote. I read books on writing, I went to writer's conferences and workshops. I did nothing but writing and writing related things. I can finally say that I do believe I have been given a gift for writing, however, even with a gift you have to study, practice, mold, and shape it before it's any good. I spent all my time doing that.
Then I self-published. You don't realize it, but self-publishing can move you in the direction of the business side of writing with marketing, promoting, and selling. If you're not careful, it can become the number one focus...for too long of a time. I woke up and I realized that I had been blessed with the opportunity to write full-time, but yet, I'm not writing full-time. Because I all of a sudden have so much to do. I haven't been to a writer's workshop or conference. I read books on writing every now and then. Writing is infrequent, and not consistent. I woke up wondering what happened? How did I get lost and wind up on the wrong path? I can finally say that writing is a gift. I, Cherlyn Michaels, do not write the stories. It's the creative spirit that many of us have been blessed with that does. However, even with the different gifts that we all have been given, it still has to be nurtured. So, if I don't read to it, feed it, nurture it, mold it, shape it, and let it grow, then what you're going to get is crappy-ass stories on paper that's not worth wiping with, let alone reading. But that's the path I'm on right now. That's where I'm headed. That is, if I don't make some changes now.
So, I'm going back and starting over. I'm going back to what I did when I first decided to follow my passion and write. I have a publisher now and a publicist, so now I'm going to go back to studying writing. I'm going back to reading books on writing, taking classes and workshops to try to learn more and to improve, mold, shape my writing. I used to loved doing that and I miss doing that full-time. I do realize that as a writer, especially an unknown writer, I'm still going to have to promote. However, it should not come before writing. I'm a writer. Writers write. Good writers study and continually learn and strive to cultivate the gift they have been given.
So, I'm making a lot of changes, cutting back on or cutting out the things or people that I'm allowing to stand in the way of writing. The madness stops now.
That was my epiphany. Then I got up and wrote.